When you are seeking to file a lawsuit in Texas, it is important to know there are some parameters that must be met in order to have a valid legal case. One requirement regulates how long a person has to file a lawsuit after an incident that caused them or a loved one harm. This is called the statute of limitations.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for most civil and criminal cases is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of an incident that seriously injured yourself, your child, or a loved one to file a lawsuit.
In the event that a loved one was killed because of another person or company’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members have two years from the date of the death for these cases. For example, if a loved one was seriously hurt in a car accident caused by an 18-wheeler and spent two weeks in a hospital’s ICU before passing, family members can seek damages two years from their passing—not the accident date.
Why Do Texas Courts Have a Statute of Limitations?
Texas courts have a statute of limitations in place for several reasons. First, it promotes fairness and ensures a timely resolution of a legal dispute. For example, the statute of limitations encourages a plaintiff, also known as the party who was hurt, to bring their claim within a reasonable period of time while evidence is still reliable.
The statute of limitations also protects defendants, or those accused of wrongdoing, from being exposed to legal action long after an incident occurred when evidence may no longer be available to help their defense. This may include reliable witnesses, surveillance footage, or vital records.
Lastly, this time regulation allows individuals and businesses to move forward without the threat of unresolved claims.
Examples of Cases with a Two-Year Statute of Limitations in Texas
- Bike accidents caused by distracted drivers
- Boating accidents caused by the person operating the boat was drunk or speeding
- Daycare injuries that occur under the watch of negligent caregivers such as abuse and neglect, allergic reactions, bottle warmer burns, falls, overheating in a daycare bus or van, sexual abuse incidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks when dog owners do not secure fences, or allow off-leash walks in public areas
- Serious auto accidents caused by delivery vans, drunk drivers, 18-wheelers, or tow trucks
- Spinal cord injuries caused by a car wreck, fall, or amusement park accident
- Traumatic brain injuries from slip and fall accidents, falls, or for children, daycare workers roughly shaking a baby
Can the Statute of Limitations Be Extended in a Lawsuit Filed in Texas?
There are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations depending on the type of civil claim you are filing. For example, debt collection claims, lawsuits involving fraud claims, and breach of contract claims have a four-year statute of limitations in Texas. And, civil cases involving dangerous design flaws in a home or building have a 10-year statute of limitations.
How Soon Before The Statute of Limitations Expires Should I Contact a Lawyer?
It is best to contact a lawyer like our team at The Button Law Firm as soon as possible following a traumatic incident that harms you or a loved one. Every case is unique, so our experienced team will take the time to listen to you, understand your injuries, and gather the necessary evidence to determine the best path forward. This in-depth process cannot be completed the week or even the day before the statute of limitations expires for your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Texas Personal Injury Lawyers
Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family after a serious injury is sustained due to the negligence of another person or company. With offices in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for you, and help you move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatic incident. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.